Markets, whether large or small, keep communities thriving. But conflicts, disasters and a lack of infrastructure can prevent people from conducting the daily transactions on which all growth and progress depend. Around the world, Mercy Corps discovers why commerce is stuck.
In some places, manufacturers need loans to purchase equipment and young people desire job skills. In others, key transportation routes to market must be rebuilt or farmers require better storage to keep their inventory fresh until sold.
Our economic development projects provide financing, equipment, training or technical support. These projects help people find jobs, build their businesses, supply their communities with the goods they need —and improve their lives.
All stories about Economic opportunity
Guatemala: Rural micropharmacies offer medicine for all July 28, 2011
Sustainable Community Health Stores is a new way of addressing the rural healthcare problem. It helps local families start small businesses while providing much-needed medicines in underserved communities.
Japan: The journey from donation to voucher to survivor in Japan July 28, 2011
Myanmar: Water buffalo in Myanmar July 18, 2011
A water buffalo in Myanmar’s Delta region. Cyclone Nargis killed more than 90 percent of the region's buffalo; Mercy Corps is helping farming families buy buffalo and get back on track.
Japan: Re-opening Ofunato's fish market July 17, 2011
The tsunami poured through the Ofunato fish market, leaving the open-plan structure mostly intact but washing away almost everything within it.
Japan: What it looks like coming back to Japan July 14, 2011
Every day that I was away from Japan — while I was eating dinner, watching TV, dancing, laughing with friends, or sleeping on the other side of the world — a small army of police, army, municipal employees and volunteers was at work in tsunami-affected areas.
Indonesia: Pushing back the sea July 11, 2011
In October 2010, a tsunami struck Indonesia's remote Mentawai Islands — killing hundreds, displacing thousands and changing the way of life for affected communities and families.
Indonesia: A video blog from Indonesia's remote Mentawai Islands July 11, 2011
South Sudan: South Sudan - The birth of a nation July 5, 2011
Mercy Corps began programs in South Sudan in 2004 to help devastated communities rebuild after decades of civil war. As South Sudan declares its independence from the north, Mercy Corps staff looks at the progress the people have made in the past six years.
Sudan: Mayol Dau inside his shop July 5, 2011
Mayol Dau does three things in his shop: credit card transfers over the phone, repair of mobile phones and recharging of mobile phone batteries.
Sudan: Mayol Dau outside his shop in Aweng, Sudan July 5, 2011
Fifteen-year-old Mayol Dau started a cell phone business, with help from Mercy Corps, to help his family buy food. Now he's also using the money to pay for school fees to further his studies.